Official money event to be held at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Songdo International Business District
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL / INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA- The PGA TOUR announced today that a multi-year agreement has been reached to bring the Champions Tour to Asia for the first time with the debut of an official tournament in the fall of 2010.
The tournament will be played at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Songdo International Business District (IBD), located 40 miles west of Seoul in the country’s largest current economic development project. Songdo IBD is being developed by Gale International, a New York-based real estate development and investment firm. Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea is being co-developed by Gale International and Kitson & Partners, a leading golf community and club development company.
The announcement was made today at a media conference at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. World Golf Hall of Fame Member Jack Nicklaus was in attendance as part of a course review of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, which he is designing and will officially open in the fall of 2010. This marks the Champions Tour’s first official money/ official victory event to be held in Asia and the Champions Tour’s third international event on the 2010 schedule.
“This is a significant step for the Champions Tour to expand the reach of our brand globally with some of the most recognizable and accomplished players in the game,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “The Korean market is an important one to the PGA TOUR and we welcome this addition to the Champions Tour schedule and the opportunity to further elevate golf in South Korea with an event of this magnitude.”
“The golf course awaiting the Champions Tour players is totally created, but one we believe will be world class,” Jack Nicklaus said. “The project is right off Incheon Bay, so the golf course provides bay and harbor views. As you move across the golf course, the look and playing experience will change throughout. We offer a seaside links look coming off the water, transitioning into a combination of sand, rocks and trees, and finally a more treed, parkland feel. The idea is to give you a sense that you are moving inland.”
“I think the players will find the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea to be an exceptional golf course and club,” Nicklaus continued, “and, with the addition of this event, can only add to the exciting things happening within the game of golf in South Korea and enhance its fast-growing reputation worldwide.”
The 54-hole stroke-play tournament will feature a record US$3 million in official prize money with the winner set to collect US$450,000. It will also be a part of the Champions Tour’s season-long competition, the Charles Schwab Cup, which offers US$2.5 million in annuities to its five leading point-earners. The event will be broadcast in South Korea on SBS, GOLF CHANNEL will broadcast all three rounds in the United States and coverage of the event will be distributed internationally.
“We have long recognized the strategic importance of a presence in Asia,” said Mike Stevens, President of the Champions Tour. “Our players are excited about this opportunity to showcase the Champions Tour in South Korea, especially at another prestigious Jack Nicklaus venue. We applaud Jack for his support of this tournament and for his initiative and vision in bringing this event to fruition.”
Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea features a par-72, 7,257-yard Signature Golf Course designed by the Golden Bear and offers world-class amenities, including a 60,000-square-foot clubhouse and luxury living in its golf lifestyle community.
“The fact that Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea was chosen by the PGA TOUR signifies that the world-class quality of the course is recognized by the world’s leading golf authority,” said John B. Hynes III, CEO and managing partner of Gale International. “The golf club and community are key quality of life amenities for Songdo IBD making it an even more attractive destination for international businesses and investors.”
The Champions Tour has contracted with IMG as operational partner to manage and conduct the tournament. IMG will have a year-round presence in Songdo International Business District (IBD) which is located in the Incheon Free Economic Zone in preparation for the event.
“We are very pleased to again be working closely with the PGA TOUR to deliver the best in professional golf globally,” said Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President and Director of Golf for IMG in Asia-Pacific. “South Korea is one of the fastest-growing golf markets in the world, and the presence of the Champions Tour will continue to add to the game’s development there. The response in Songdo International Business District (IBD) has been extremely positive, and we expect a similar response as we begin discussions with potential corporate partners.”
“It is significant that this premier PGA TOUR golf tournament is going to be held in Songdo International City, Incheon,” said Incheon City Mayor Sang-soo Ahn, “I am confident that the Champions Tour will contribute greatly to raise global awareness of Songdo IBD and Incheon City. An event of this stature further reinforces Songdo IBD’s position as a truly international city.”
About Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD)
Songdo International Business District, the “Gateway to Northeast Asia,” is being developed by New York headquartered Gale International and POSCO E&C. Songdo International Business District (IBD) officially opens August 2009, as the first “new” city in the world designed and planned as an international business district. The U.S. $35 billion, 100 million square foot master-planned metropolis will include forty-five million square feet of office space, thirty million square feet of residential space, ten million square feet of retail, five million square feet of hotel space and ten million square feet of public space. When fully completed in 2015, Songdo IBD will be home to 65,000 people and 300,000 will work there. Songdo IBD is located within the Incheon Free Economic Zone.
Songdo IBD will offer every conceivable amenity including a world-class hospital, an international preparatory school, a 100-acre Central Park, a 2.3 million square foot premium retail mall and a championship 18-hole golf course, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. Songdo IBD will be 40 percent green space, and is being designed and constructed to ensure long-term environmental sustainability, thus minimizing the city’s carbon footprint. Songdo IBD was named a “green urbanism” pilot project by the U.S. Green Building Council.
This new metropolis will be connected to the Incheon International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, by a 7.4 mile highway bridge, and linked by subway to Seoul and its surrounding suburbs. Day travel is easy to China and Japan’s major business centers. More than one third of the world’s population lives within a three and a half hour flying radius. Additional information can be found at www.songdo.com.